Monday, November 9, 2009

Assembly passes Healthy Youth Act

The ACLU of Wisconsin applauds the state Assembly for passing AB 458, the Healthy Youth Act. Find out how your Assembly representative voted on the bill.

If passed by the state Senate and signed by the Governor in early 2010, this bill will raise state standards for human growth and development curriculum (a.k.a sex ed) to a comprehensive sexuality education model which would be the educational link to make a positive, public health impact on teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection rates. Comprehensive sexuality education would ensure that Wisconsin public school students get effective, age-appropriate and medically accurate information about reproduction, contraception and relationships.

There has been criticism of this bill that suggests it would override local control of school boards’ decisions about sex ed. To the contrary, this bill is far from a mandate. If passed, it would raise state standards on “human growth and development” curricula that are taught in the state. Local school boards can choose what ever curriculum they want, but if it fails to meet state standards, they can’t define it as “human growth and development” curriculum under the new state statute. And if schools aren’t teaching students the facts, they have to send a letter to parents saying so. As with current law, any parent can opt their children out of whatever human growth and development lessons are being offered.

The ACLU of Wisconsin will be working to encourage the state Senate to vote "yes" on SB 324 early in 2010.